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Mel Gibson isn't moving to Australia -- but you knew that

July 19, 2010 | 11:55 am

Mel-gibson-portrait

Mel Gibson gossips have been on fire over a British tabloid story claiming the actor was packing up and moving to Australia -- a story the Ministry considered "on fire" like a prankster's flaming bag of dog mess on a front porch.

It's a story that involves "no truth," Gibson's rep, Alan Nierob, told NBC on Monday. Nierob is the rep who's reportedly been told by Gibson's lawyers to keep his mouth shut during the current scandal -- yet apparently the Australian relocation fabrication was dead-wrong enough to merit a comment. 

Why did we hate and ignore this story from the moment we saw it linked on the Drudge Report? 

It claimed that Gibson's sale of his "New York mansion" was indicative of this alleged escape plan.

It also implied that Robyn Gibson's support of her estranged husband in a sworn declaration to the court was a sign they'd been reunited.

Never mind that the estate is in Connecticut, and had been on the market since 2007 -- both perhaps hints of slipshod reporting. The drastic difference between the original asking price and the much lower sale price was highlighted as a sign of his rush to flight, ignoring that the price had been gradually reduced over time in response to what Americans are familiar with as "our messed-up housing market" and that the deal closed before the tapes were made public.

Also cited: A report that Mel had also putting his Malibu pad on the market. Scandalous! Except for the fact that the $14.5-million property referenced was, as this post is published, listed 137 days ago. And the other fact that it's not his only Malibu pad -- the property mentioned, Lavender Hill Farm, is not the home he bought from David Duchovny and Tea Leoni in 2008. 

More reasonable speculation about why Gibson would be shedding properties? He's in the middle of a divorce that involves splitting a massive estate, reportedly heavy on real estate and light on liquid cash. (Even lighter on cash than one might expect, given the comments heard in the fifth of the recently released audiotapes.)

Also bubbling in the background, despite the many commenters who've been shouting "Deport him!" and "Send him back where he came from!": Gibson is, in fact, already "back where he came from," give or take 3,000 miles. The actor was born in New York, which makes him a lifelong U.S. citizen (albeit one with dual citizenship in Ireland, thanks to his mother).

The Daily Telegraph, reporting Monday on the Daily Mail story, said Nierob "would not confirm the actor's plans to move back to Australia."

Gee -- maybe he "would not" because the actor didn't have any?

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Mel Gibson on Jan. 16 in Santa Monica. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Related dispatches from the Ministry of Gossip:

Picture of Oksana Grigorieva's teeth goes public -- along with reports of dentist's doubts

The fifth alleged Mel Gibson tape: selling the Lakers box and feeding an army

Whoopi Goldberg defends herself for defending Mel Gibson

A fourth alleged Mel Gibson tape goes public -- sex, therapy and why a maid is better

Third alleged Mel Gibson tape goes public [poll]

PREACH IT! Mel Gibson's silence: What does it mean?

A second alleged Mel Gibson tape goes public -- threats included

PREACH IT! The Mel Gibson mess: Could it get any worse?

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